• Istituto di Biologia e Patologia Molecolari

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Istitute of Molecular Biology and Pathology - National Research Council

Over the past years my research has focused on gene expression and regulation. During my PhD thesis training I focused on the characterization of proteins that directly interact with human RNA polymerase II subunits. In particular, I centered my interest on eEF1gamma/eEF1Bγ, a subunit of the holoenzyme eEF1, also known as "pancreatic tumor-related protein" and an hRPB3 interactor. My postdoctoral training extended my interests on transcription regulation to the field of zinc finger based artificial transcription factors. I’ve been actively involved in gene therapy projects based on the use of zinc finger artificial transcription factors to re-program the expression of disease-related genes, focusing on Duchenne muscular dystrophy pathology. In this field I am an inventor of two international CNR patent clusters. The study of the "regulation of gene expression" applied to biotechnologies and molecular medicine is the central thread of my work. 

-Pisani C, Strimpakos G, Gabanella F, Di Certo MG, Onori A, Severini C, Luvisetto S, Farioli-Vecchioli S, Carrozzo I, Esposito A, Canu T, Mattei E, Corbi N, Passananti C. Utrophin up-regulation by artificial transcription factors induces muscle rescue and impacts the neuromuscular junction in mdx mice. Biochim Biophys Acta Mol Basis Dis. 2018 Apr;1864(4 Pt A):1172-1182.

-Pisani C, Onori A, Gabanella F, Delle Monache F, Borreca A, Ammassari-Teule M, Fanciulli M, Di Certo MG, Passananti C, Corbi N. eEF1Bγ binds the Che-1 and TP53 gene promoters and their transcripts. J Exp Clin Cancer Res. 2016; 35(1):146.  

-Gabanella F, Pisani C, Borreca A, Farioli-Vecchioli S, Ciotti MT, Ingegnere T, Onori A, Ammassari-Teule M, Corbi N, Canu N, Monaco L, Passananti C, Di Certo MG. SMN affects membrane remodelling and anchoring of the protein synthesis machinery. J Cell Sci. 2016; 129:804-16.

-De Arcangelis V, Strimpakos G, Gabanella F, Corbi N, Luvisetto S, Magrelli A, Onori A, Passananti C, Pisani C, Rome S, Severini C, Naro F, Mattei E, Di Certo MG, Monaco L. Pathways Implicated in Tadalafil Amelioration of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. J Cell Physiol. 2016; 231(1):224-32.

 -Strimpakos G, Corbi N, Pisani C, Di Certo MG, Onori A, Luvisetto S, Severini C, Gabanella F, Monaco L, Mattei E, Passananti C. Novel adeno-associated viral vector delivering the utrophin gene regulator jazz counteracts dystrophic pathology in mdx mice. J Cell Physiol. 2014;229(9):1283-91.

-Onori A, Pisani C, Strimpakos G, Monaco L, Mattei E, Passananti C, Corbi N. UtroUp is a novel six zinc finger artificial transcription factor that recognises 18 base pairs of the utrophin promoter and efficiently drives utrophin upregulation. BMC Mol Biol. 2013;14:3.

-Corbi N, Batassa EM, Pisani C, Onori A, Di Certo MG, Strimpakos G, Fanciulli M, Mattei E, Passananti C. The eEF1γ subunit contacts RNA polymerase II and binds vimentin promoter region. PLoS One. 2010; 5(12):e14481.

-Di Certo MG, Corbi N, Strimpakos G, Onori A, Luvisetto S, Severini C, Guglielmotti A, Batassa EM, Pisani C, Floridi A, Benassi B, Fanciulli M, Magrelli A, Mattei E, Passananti C. The artificial gene Jazz, a transcriptional regulator of utrophin, corrects the dystrophic pathology in mdx mice. Hum Mol Genet. 2010;19(5):752-60.

-Poma A, Limongi T, Pisani C, Granato V, Picozzi P. Genotoxicity induced by fine urban air particulate matter in the macrophages cell line RAW 264.7. Toxicol In Vitro. 2006; 20(6): 1023-9.


1) Gene regulatory circuits and epigenetics.

2) Differentiation and development.

Collaborations with other institutions

-Dr. Strimpakos Georgeos, IBCN-CNR, Rome, Italy.

-Dr. Maurizio Fanciulli, SAFU Laboratory, Regina Elena Cancer Institute, Rome, Italy. 


-2012 PhD in Experimental Medicine and Endocrinology, University of L’Aquila, L’Aquila, Italy.

-2007 Master of Science in Molecular Pathology and Biotechnology in Oncology. University of Ferrara. Ferrara, Italy.

-2004 Degree in Biological Science, University of L’Aquila, L’Aquila, Italy.



 -July 2019-up to now: to present CNR Researcher (III level) at Istituto Biologia e Patologia Molecolari (IBPM), CNR, Rome, Italy.

-2015-19: Postdoctoral Research, IBPM-CNR.

“Innovative therapeutic strategy for Duchenne muscular dystrophy by AAV mediated delivery of artificial transcription factor genes”

-2012-15:  Postdoctoral Research, IBPM-CNR.

“Experimental gene therapy of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy by artificial transcription factors upregulating the dystrophin-related gene Utrophin”.

-2009-12: PhD fellow, Experimental Medicine and Endocrinology, University of L’Aquila.

“Anti-apoptotic role of Che-1/Hax1 interaction in severe congenital neutropenia, a preleukemic condition.”

-2006-08: Post-graduate training, Center for Excellence on Ageing (CeSI), University G. D’ Annunzio, Chieti.

“Definition of the signalling networks of Trop2 a key regulatory protein of growth and apoptosis in cancer cells”.

-2006: Post-graduate training, NeuTec Pharma Plc. Manchester, UK.

European Union’s program about the job training "Leonardo da Vinci". “Production and analysis of Single Chain Variable Fragments (scFv’s) against Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus.”



- Compositions and Methods for Treatment of Muscular Dystrophy: European Patent Application n. 15742234; EP3194600 (2017); U.S. Patent Application n. 15/328,833 (2017). Titolarità CNR 100%. Rif. CNR N° 10359

Autori: Claudio Passananti, Nicoletta Corbi, Maria Grazia Di Certo, Elisabetta Mattei, Cinzia Pisani, Georgios Strimpakos, Siro Luvisetto.

-Vettore adeno-associato ricombinante muscolo-specifico e suo impiego nel trattamento di patologie muscolari/Compositions and Methods for Treatment of Muscular Dystrophy: Italian patent application n. TO2013A000669 (2013); PCT/EP2014/002051 (2014) (originated from IP application n. TO2013A000669); European Patent Application n. 14746954.8 (2014); U.S. Patent Application n. 14/909,854. Titolarità CNR 100%. Rif. CNR N°10299

Autori: Claudio Passananti, Nicoletta Corbi, Maria Grazia Di Certo, Elisabetta Mattei, Cinzia Pisani, Georgios Strimpakos.


Licensing agreement between CNR and Ilit Bio-Ventures/Zingenix Ltd. Company (Tel Aviv, Israel) on 2014 (prot.CNR-IBPM n. 0001360 del 01/08/ 2014)




Artificial transcription factors, Muscular Dystrophy, Gene therapy.